CMDBf: IT’s Next Moonwalk

Albeit, this is a “moon walk” of significance primarily to IT, its organization, its politics, and the broader market supporting management and optimization of IT services. It is probably not going to become vernacular among most American households, and the day when teens access CMDB systems for fun is happily either never going to happen, or so far out in the future that none of us beyond the age of 30 need worry about it.

Market Transformation

But if the CMDBf specification actually leads to true modularity in the choice and deployment of best-in-class management applications and suites, effective CMS federation will utterly transform the management marketplace. And if it enables levels of information sharing and automation that can support truly “revolutionary” ways of managing and provisioning new services, IT organizations may be willing to deal with the though, thorny politics of change.

This is certainly not the end of the road or the only road for CMDB federation. The new specification does not include recommendations for a single standard around data schema, which given the existing diversity of solutions already in the market place is actually a good idea. And it doesn’t yet support full bi-directional requirements so that a single MDR from a management tool or suite can fully leverage all the power of its surrounding CMDB System. But the standard does go a long way to enabling broad access to information across multiple sources and, if it were fully supported by most tool set providers, would begin to ease the issues of federation significantly. Given the preliminary state of most CMDB System deployments, the new specification might even be viewed as ahead of market.

As the CMDBf specification becomes adopted by a widening variety of management vendors, as I believe should happen over the course of the next several years, TCO for CMS deployments will be dramatically improved. But perhaps even more significantly, the vision of the CMDB as a single, monolithic repository will gradually become a thing of the past. And then the rebirth of the CMS as a mix of technologies—centered more in metadata management, reconciliation, and orchestration than in data storage—may allow those of us who have cared for decades about the effective assimilation of management resources to celebrate by planting a brand new flag on the lunar landscape of IT Service Management.

Dennis Drogseth is VP of Boulder, Colo.-based Enterprise Management Associates (, an industry research firm focused on IT management. Dennis can be reached at [email protected].